One of the most difficult items to serve is court orders. To illustrate just how difficult this has been, court orders have been used as wrapping for presents or even has been presented as a paper the defendant just dropped. An hilarious method the law has allowed plaintiffs to serve papers is through nail and mail; where papers are hammered on the defendant’s front door, and a copy served via publication on a daily in form of an ad.
The old snail mail method is no longer effective for serving court orders due to possibilities such as change of residential place or change of jobs thus in this digital era there is a need to utilize modern platforms such as Personal Emails, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to serve the court orders.
The time and date today has transformed us to online beings in the sense that we are more available online than we are physically. This is why the law is already warming up to online paper service since it is much easier and dependable. Facebook users to be defendants might just be notified of legal suits along with photo tags from friends and family.
Just a week ago, a judge in New York permitted a woman to serve divorce papers through Facebook due to sated reasons. The Ghanaian woman could not get hold of the husband through residential addresses she had of him, cell phone, place of employment or even billing addresses that could give a lead to his whereabouts. In this case where the woman was in dire need of moving on, the only option left was Facebook service. The move was however after confirming the page belonged to the husband which now ushers the flip side of the novel form of service.
The flip side
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms being the likely potential platforms of serving legal papers is a milestone in the law society but could unfortunately be the hardest way of service for the plaintiff.
There is a high possibility the account believed to be the defendants might not belong to the individual. Today, a the percentage of fake accounts is going up by day with full information of an individual and updates that could make one think they manage the account only to discover it is purported. In such a case, the court has no way of verifying ownership to give a go-ahead of paper service.
The plaintiff could also pose as the defendant, create the account and fake conversation as well as exchange of posts to convince the court and therefore serve the individual without their knowledge of process kickoff.
Also, considering one could be a rear user of Facebook, they might miss the notification by court and therefore get accused for contempt of court. The court however argues that because the plaintiff has the phone number of the defendant, the lawyer could help reach the accused via phone and if they are not reachable, they could leave a message on voice mail to notify the defendant of the suit notification on their account.
All the same, law will play in deciding whether the medium is the next big thing in process paper service considering a credible level of efficiency that comes with it.